23 March 2005 | TheMovieMark
Sandra Bullock just knows how to make stupidity so cute
"The reason for a sequel," says Bullock, "is that Marc (Lawrence, writer and producer) and I found ourselves on numerous occasions imagining what Gracie would have gone on to do after her big triumph at the pageant and how all the media attention would have affected her." Yeah. I'm gonna take a wild one and say the fact that the original made over $300 million (including domestic AND worldwide gross, rentals, and DVD sales) probably had a little something to do with it as well.
Let's be honest here, do you really need a review to convince you of whether or not you want to see this? Seriously, if you watch the trailer and read this review and STILL see the movie, then I don't want to hear any complaints. Walk out of the theater with a smile on your face or I'll put one there, OK? Otherwise, don't see it. Come on, you're not really expecting something fresh and original are you? Have you read the plot line? Miss Congeniality 2 obviously runs a predictable path. Gracie is originally reluctant to become Ms. FBI Barbie, but then she embraces the role and becomes a wee bit too wrapped up in it. But wait! William Shatner and Miss America are kidnapped! So it's off to Las Vegas to run a little PR. Enter Treat Williams as the Las Vegas FBI supervisor (Collins) who has ambitions of writing his own book and doesn't care for Gracie coming in and stealing his thunder. You might as well have cued the sinister music and given him a Cheshire cat to pet and a handlebar mustache to twirl.
It'll come as a shock to approximately three sub-70 IQ viewers that Collins disregards Gracie's attempts at helping and begins to steer the investigation in the wrong direction. You know what that means, right? Time for Gracie to shed the FBI Barbie image and go back to her old ways! Somebody call up Memento, and let it know that a new master of unpredictability is here and its name is Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous! OK, so not really. But who cares? The movie ramps up the cheese, the stupidity, the silliness, and the camp, and it revels in it. The best thing I can say about this sequel is it knows exactly what it is, it knows exactly what its audience wants, it knows exactly how ridiculously over-the-top everything is, and it doesn't care one whit what the critics think. There's no shame to be found here, and for that, I tip my hat.
I'll be honest, if you try to put a movie like this on the shoulders of Julia Stiles or Kirsten Dunst then I'm running screaming for the exit like I'm Haley Joel Osment at Neverland Ranch. But I love Sandra Bullock, and she has the charm and the personality to make me smile at the stupidest stuff. She trips about 24 times, dances at a drag club in a ridiculous outfit, lays a beatin' on a 6'7" behemoth to the tune of Spiderbait's Black Betty, and she forces me to be entertained by it. Admit it, she has a knack for making insanity absolutely adorable.
Oh, and who can forget the addition of a partner! Regina King (the girl from 227) is an FBI transfer with anger management issues. She's assigned as Gracie's bodyguard, and she has a bad habit of overextending herself physically. Yep, you guessed it, they don't initially get along. Can you see hijinks and shenanigans ensuing? I think you can! Is this a great movie? Not by any means. It's not even as good as the original, a big reason being that William Shatner is regretfully underutilized (although he does have a great line about his friend being run over by a milk truck). Oh, and go ahead and make sure you bring your little yellow bucket to puke in during the final scene. A producer somewhere obviously spoke up and said, "Hey, we're one aww-inducing scene short of our quota," and thus the final scene was born.
But you just have to accept that and the fact that this is a comedy that'll have you shaking your head and rolling your eyes more than once. In fact, I should be ashamed to admit that I let myself enjoy it as much as I did. But if you go into the movie expecting to have a good time then you should walk out satisfied. The screening audience absolutely loved it. Granted, proclamations such as, "That is the best movie I've seen this year!" are a bit much, but this is indeed a movie that knows its audience and plays to it effectively.
Are you expecting high art? If so, then you really need to learn how to better analyze movie trailers. You also need to learn how to better analyze movie titles. Armed and Fabulous? One of the great absolutes in life is any time a movie tries to be cute and makes a play on words with a common phrase (in this case, "armed and dangerous") in its movie title, then you better have a tent with you because mama, it's time to set up camp! The only thing missing here is a cameo by Adam West.
I think I'm gonna follow the trend. I'm gonna write a script about baseball called America's Pastime where the home team loses the championship. However, they will get their revenge in the sequel - America's Pastime 2: Payback's a Pitch. It's gonna rule. You know it, and I know it.
Bottom line, America - how often in life will you get the chance to see Sandra Bullock in boxers and a t-shirt, all while sportin' some long, shiny, straight hair? At the very least there is entertainment value in THAT! *sighs wistfully* Rating: 3 (out of 5)